DIVERSITY OF ANTS (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE) INSIDE AND OUTSIDE HIVES OF THE WESTERN HONEY BEE APIS MELLIFERA L. (HYMENOPTERA: APIDAE), JUJUY, ARGENTINA
Key words: ants, bee, Pheidole sp., Linepithema humile, Solenopsis sp., Apis mellifera L, diversity, hives.Ants are frequent visitors to Apis mellifera L. hives. Certain species may cause serious loss of productivity to apiculture. The objective of this study was to describe the diversity and abundance of ants both outside and inside the hives of Apis mellifera L. in Valles Templados, Jujuy province, Argentine. Ants were collected by hand and pitfall traps in the Spring and Summer season of 2016, 2017 and 2018, in apiaries found at three different localities of Valles Templados: Río Blanco, Tilquiza and Severino. Pitfall trapping resulted in 824 specimens belonging to 10 species in Severino, 208 individuals of 9 species in Tilquiza, and 289 individuals of 2 species in Río Blanco. The most common ant species found were: Pheidole sp. (56.07%), Linepithema humile (94.81%), and Solenopsis sp. (56.73%) in Severino, Rio Blanco and Tilquiza, respectively. The hand collection of ants yielded 248 individuals of 7 species collected in Severino, 35 individuals of 3 species in Tilquiza, and 294 individuals of 2 species in Río Blanco. The most common species was Linepithema humile 67.3%. The abundance figures showed significant differences among sampling sites. Several species collected by hand were the same as those collected with pitfall traps at the three localities. This study provides information about the taxonomic composition of Formicidae associated with Apis mellifera L. in Valles Templados in Jujuy. It also provides valuable information on the effect of ants on bee hives, which enables to develop control measures where necessary.